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Newly released emails reveal EPA chief was "arm-in-arm" with industry.
Wertheimer's Political Money Report
February 23, 2017
A NOTE FROM FRED
 
News reports have revealed that the FBI and intelligence agencies are investigating Russia’s intervention in the 2016 presidential election and the possible involvement individuals associated with the Trump campaign may have had with Russia. They are also investigating former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn contact's with Russians. When Attorney General Jeff Sessions was sworn in, it raised an immediate problem regarding the investigations because the FBI is under the jurisdiction of Sessions' DOJ. Unless Sessions, a prominent player in the Trump campaign, recuses himself, he could end up interfering with the investigations. Democracy 21 organized a letter to Sessions signed by 25 organizations and individuals that called on Sessions to promptly recuse himself. The letter stated that recusal was necessary and required by federal regulations given his role in the Trump campaign and his close relationship with Trump. If Sessions refuses to do so, Democracy 21 will consider possible next steps.

"GOP to bury House resolution on Trump conflicts," says POLITICO. House Republicans plan to derail a Democratic resolution next week that would have forced disclosure of Trump's possible ties to Russia and business conflicts of interest. "Seeking to avoid a full House vote on the so-called “resolution of inquiry” — a roll call that would be particularly embarrassing and divisive for the right — Republicans will send proposal by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) to the House Judiciary Committee for a panel vote on Tuesday." The GOP controlled committee is expected to kill the resolution. Read more

New polls slam Trump. In a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, Trump has a 38% approval rating and a 55% disapproval rating. As well, 55% said Trump is not honest and doesn't have good leadership skills. Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll, said, “President Donald Trump’s popularity is sinking like a rock. He gets slammed on honesty, empathy, level-headedness and the ability to unite. And two of his strong points, leadership and intelligence, are sinking to new lows. This is a terrible survey one month in.” In a new McClatchy-Marist poll, more than half of voters believe that Trump has done something illegal or unethical involving his business holdings.  

Newly released emails reveal EPA chief was "arm-in-arm" with industry, says the New York Times. As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Scott Pruitt, closely coordinated with oil and gas producers, electric utilities and Koch connected political groups to roll back environmental regulations. "The totality of the correspondences captures just how much at war Mr. Pruitt was with the E.P.A. and how cozy he was with the industries that he is now charged with policing." Read more 

Adelson and Pence scheduled to meet. Vice President Pence and mega-donor Sheldon Adelson are scheduled to meet privately on Friday at Adelson's Vegas hotel. Pence is in town to speak at the Republican Jewish Coalition meeting. The meeting "cements the Republican billionaire's place as a key adviser to the new administration," says CNN. Read more

Reported Trump ambassador appointment raises conflicts of interest concerns, says Rolling Stone. Trump's reported pick for ambassador to the Dominican Republic is Robin Bernstein, a founding member of Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club. Bernstein has a two decade long business relationship with Trump. The appointment is "raising questions about potential conflicts of interest, given that the Trump Organization is considering a licensing deal on a luxury resort in the island nation." Read more

Dysfunction and deadlock at the FEC, says Commissioner Ann Ravel in a New York Times op-ed. Ravel said, "Unfortunately, a controlling bloc of three Republican commissioners who are ideologically opposed to the F.E.C.’s purpose regularly ignores violations or drastically reduces penalties. The resulting paralysis has allowed over $800 million in “dark money” to infect our elections since Citizens United." Read more

Pro-Trump super PAC still spending to support Trump. The Great America PAC has spent $175,000 this month to keep the "pro-Trump momentum rolling," says Ad Age. The PAC has bought radio and Facebook ads encouraging people to call their senators telling them to support Trump, his agenda and his nominees. Read more 

FACT OF THE DAY

The 11 days that Trump has spent at Mar-a-Lago since becoming president have cost an estimated $10 million in security and travel costs, says CBS News. 

IN THE STATES
WV: The House of Delegates approved a bill that requires lawmakers to disclose fundraising events held during legislative sessions. Read more

KS: House lawmakers rejected a bill that would have raised campaign contribution limits. Read more 

FL: The FEC is investigating the pro-Trump super PAC associated with Governor Rick Scott for inadequate reporting. Read more 

By: Fred Wertheimer (@FredWertheimer) & Kathryn Beard (@KathrynBeard)
 
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